Gotham on the Brink
James "Jimmy" Walker
Mayor of Gotham
Patron: Tammany Hall
Government Rank 6
Social Regard 3 (Respected)
Talent: Smooth Operator 3
Reputation – Womanizer
Reputation – Alcoholic
Reputation – Corrupt Politican
The son of a carpenter, he graduated from Gotham Law School in 1904 but he did not enjoy practicing law so he turned to writing songs for Broadway productions with some success. Walker eventually turned to politics because it required less effort.
Walker won the position of Mayor in 1926 with the assistance of New York state governor Alfred Smith (since replaced by Franklin Roosevelt). Smith was a staunch supporter of Jimmy Walker since Walker backed many social and cultural issues that were considered politically important. These included social welfare legislation, legalization of boxing, repeal of blue laws which prohibited Sunday baseball games, condemning the Ku Klux Klan, and especially Smith’s and Walker’s mutual opposition to Prohibition.
In his initial years as mayor, Walker saw the city prosper and many public works projects gain traction. In his first year as Mayor, Walker created the Department of Sanitation, unified New York’s public hospitals, improved many parks and playgrounds.
However, Walker’s term was also known for the proliferation of speakeasies during the Prohibition era. It is a noted aspect of his career as Mayor and as a member of the State Senate that Walker was strongly opposed to Prohibition. As mayor, Walker led his administration in challenging the Eighteenth Amendment by replacing the police commissioner with an inexperienced former state banking commissioner. The new police commissioner immediately dissolved the Special Service Squad. Since Walker did not feel that drinking was a crime, he discouraged the police from enforcing Prohibition law or taking an active role unless it was to curb excessive violations or would prove to be newsworthy.
Walker has not responded well to events since the stock market crash of 1929 and has given himself increasingly long vacations, declaring “I will not be bound by the strictures of the clock.”